Can we be Disaster Free?

In November, Benguet Province’s festival ‘Adivay’ was celebrated with a heavy heart, but full of hope, as it reminds us to be strong after the disaster, through its theme: “Benguet Culture – Unity, Industry, Prosperity: Managing Adversities with excellence thru enhanced Indigenous Resilience”. The celebration was full of traditional prayers for a single goal: A Disaster free Benguet in the future.

In order to attain the goal, you can always help. In your own simple way, manage or eliminate the Hazard you see, so that nothing will ever become a Disaster. This is what the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of La Trinidad is doing now through various programs, projects, and activities. When the hazard can’t be eliminated, at least make everyone prepare for its adverse effects or ensure the resiliency of the community.

But before anything yet, I think there is still a confusion on what the word Hazards and Disasters means to everyone. As I always emphasize during my lectures on topics for Preparedness, we do not want to use the word ‘Disaster’. This word is only used to indicate that there is Loss of Lives and Damages to Properties that happened, and we don’t want that, or do you?

So what word concerns you?

Disasters are caused by Hazards. So, when you don’t want a Disaster, you have to know a lot about Hazards, talk about it, manage it properly, or, better yet, eliminate it.

Hazards are those that can cause a Disaster. There can be no Disaster if there are no Hazards. Steep slopes around your home’s yard is an example. Hanging boulders, Denudated Forests, Clogged Canals, Dilapidated Roofs of your house, Electrical Wirings, etc. are some. When these are not managed, eliminated, or fixed, it may cause severe damage which will already be called a Disaster.

Now, since the Philippines is Located in the Pacific Ring of Fire and Pacific Typhoon Belt, we do have a lot of bigger hazards to manage, aside from those mentioned above. Weather Disturbances such as Typhoons is on the top list, followed by Earthquakes, and Volcanic Eruptions.

Of course you cannot stop Typhoons or earthquakes. But you can still do something so that these Hazards won’t become a Disaster. You can always prepare! There is a lot of time before a Hazard becomes a Disaster (if it should). Recall TY Ompong – Public advisories were disseminated and preparations were done before it arrived. Class Suspended, Liquor Banned, etc., even when there is no rain yet, to give time to preparations for the hazards, so it won’t cause a Disaster.

Your preparations in your home is the first best thing to do to prevent a disaster from happening: Know your Hazard; Transfer your valuable things where there’s no flooding; Always ensure free flow of water on Canals; Construct your slope protections on steep slopes; Purchase supplies and equipment that you need; Have a Go Bag that is available anytime; be sure to have the complete set of emergency numbers to call, just in case; and better evacuate as early when the typhoon has not yet arrived. Consider your experience during TY Ompong. Remember that Balili River overflowed causing flood in the Valley and mountains saturated causing massive landslide everywhere.

Prepare your Farms too: Fix its drainage system, Use materials that can resist strong wind and rains, reduce steep slopes, and avail of available crop insurance to make sure that you will have something to start with, in case hazards will damage your crops. (You may contact The Office of the Municipal Agriculturist for assistance).

When in other areas you are not so familiar with, (i.e. Swimming pools, Beach, Resorts, Training Halls, Restaurants, Hotels, Tourist Destinations, etc.) prioritize to learn the hazards upon arrival and know how to get away from them by looking for possible escape routes and emergency numbers.

Preventing Disaster is possible when Hazards are managed. Start the practice this Yuletide Season. Avoid the hazards, or eliminate them, and your Celebration will be the best that it can be.

Benguet School of Arts and Trades is… Where?

I grew up in the Rural Community of Ambangeg, Bokod, Philippines and finished my High School at the Benguet School of Arts and Trades, or Commonly known as BSAT-the educator in this part of the world before and of the Millenials where a lot of Teachers today have graduated.

My High School Building

Right after the 1990 earthquake, this makeshift building was constructed to replace those that collapsed. It is located at the center portion of the entire school. When I last visited it last week, it was still there but is not being used. The partitions inside were already removed.

As I take a peek of its inside, the memories with my classmates in it came right into me. Amazing High School life. The plays I did, experiments, exams, presentations, games, parties, dances, lessons, teachers, and of course the love stories were recalled there with those shiny plain cement floor. Haha!

The Basketball Court

Outside is the Star Player maker: The Basketball Court. This court is where I learned how to play basketball. Since my elementary days, after school, we come here and play. Even when at the hottest-mid-day, we ran, we shoot, we play. Its floor was also rough that it causes bruises when we fall.

The Binnejayeng

At the southern portion is the famous Binnejayeng Lake. Mysterious that this lake never lost its water.

It was around it that I learned to farm. The open areas were once our school garden. Every Student has an assigned area to plant. I personally planted gabi and sitting beans on my slot and harvested them too.

BSAT now

Today, BSAT is now under the Benguet State University and they call it their Bokod Campus (BSU Bokod Campus). It was made so because it was thought that it will offer other College Courses for the students option. Perhaps it will happen in the Future.

Nevertheless, if you are an alumni of this school, it is always worth revisiting. It is still there 🙂

THE AMBITION

Proving things in life needs a whole lot of sacrifice. And we all know that sacrifice comes along with pain and hatreds. But, one man’s desire cannot be turned-off by merely flushing it with an extinguisher. Warm coal always insists to burn out from inside just to prove that he could achieve its ambition.

            I am but a normal person whose ideas are of the standard but ambitious. In this stage of my living, I find it hard to find what I have been longing to see. When I was a little younger, I thought education and work are all that matters. I failed to see the heart that pumps and warms the soul. The heart that would pair mine to face the world, make my dreams into reality, and might even help me cross the sea.

            But finding the heart will never be easy. Women always believe that a man sets standards of whom they would want to be with. And, yes, who wouldn’t? Even women do, but not on same scale. As for me, I thought a perfect woman would be someone firm of her thoughts and ideals with a mind set of attaining her goal. That no matter what surrounds her, she is focused on what she wants to do and what she wants to achieve for herself and most importantly, to her family. Sounds unrealistic? Consider me Ambitious.

             Everybody has his own ambition in life. And at this very moment, mine is simple-Finding her. Many are astonished of the time I’ve already spent, but then, I still insist of not rushing. There is no room for mistakes on this issue. I heard a lot of stories that proved my theory of finding the right one. While some changed my belief, others strengthened it. So, I thought, I just have to hang on. And patience didn’t upset me when I came to know someone who brought back my belief and ideals of finding the right one.

            If I have to tell you, I met someone who is so focused and powerful but fun and happy. The very moment she told me of her primary objective in doing school made me bow down to her. Their Family has always been her priority and she would do things out of the ordinary to make her family happy. While cultivating her mind at school, she worked to buy the needed fertilizer of her wisdom. She is intelligent and truehearted much more that she is beautiful. She never shows weakness to people for she believes in herself. She often laughs at me for she thinks that I am weaker than she is. But, I know what she means. And I understand. Situations aren’t just that cordial to her. If I got the right picture, she is challenged. She carries her family on her shoulder trying to mobilize it from a place of uncertainty to a more relaxing area on her own. By her focus, she doesn’t want to show any weakness or signs of surrender for it might disturb her. That’s why I settled for another ambition – To help her in any way I can. Not the kind of help which I might distract her for I know how hard to carry such a load. Just clearing her way going there or carrying her load at rest, or anything she might request as to where or how she wants me to be.

            In a sensible mind, I am compulsive. I am hoping that my ambition would come true. The fact that I met someone beautiful, truehearted, intelligent and dedicated to her goals partially fulfilled my ambition. But there has to be more. If I am the best swimmer in the world, I am not satisfied of merely finding the dam. Fulfillment can only be felt when I swam across the dam.